G8 mechanisms moving in the right direction, believes Alexandr Auzan
The main goal of the Civil G8 2006 forum – to give Russian non-governmental organisations belief in their abilities to affect improvement in quality of life inside Russia, to make them understand that they have the opportunity to interact normally with the various authorities – has been achieved. This was the opinion expressed today to journalists by the forum’s coordinator Ella Pamfilova, chair of the Russian Presidential Council for Assistance in Development of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights. She believes that the meeting with the president can serve as confirmation of this.
“I have no doubt that the forum will have an influence with regard to improvement of the situation with NGOs, as well as strengthening of civil society”, she said. “I am very glad that dialogue has been established between public federal organisations and their regional colleagues, and that contacts have been made”. Pamfilova believes that the communications made by Russian and international public organisations “will allow Russian organisations to move out onto the global stage as equal partners”.
As Gabriel Kochofa, president of the Association of Foreign Students in Russia, announced, “A new era has opened up for African and other developing countries”. If we miss the chance that Russia’s G8 presidency gives us, it will not come again, he remarked, recalling that Russia has always been a close partner of the African countries, helping resolve the problems of famine and external debt, and training specialists for the African region. “I hope”, remarked Kochofa, “that the G8 will listen to the opinion of the Russian president, and that we will be provided with assistance in training our own personnel and creation of a favourable infrastructure within Africa, which will enable creation of new jobs and increases in quality of life”.
As regard’s Vladimir Putin’s speech at the forum, Kochofa remarked: “The man showed a sincere interest, and answered all the NGOs’ questions”. However, according to Kochofa the president also expressed regret that the opinions he shares with the NGOs are not always those adhered to by the other G8 leaders.
And now Alexandr Auzan, head of the Institute for the National ‘Public Agreement’ Project, has expressed the opinion that there is now finally definite evidence that the G8’s mechanisms are moving in the right direction.
He noted that the president had not evaded the questions posed, and had willingly reacted to them. For example, “the notorious law on NGOs – the president expressed readiness to make alterations to it”. Auzan also agreed with the president that the activities of Russian NGOs should be funded domestically. However, “international projects cannot be ruled out, as globalisation is underway”. “But political activity must not be paid for with foreign money”, he explained, “although the fight for observance of human rights is not politics; it is a function of NGOs”. This was reported by ITAR-TASS.